Trump – Damned Either Way 11

President Elect Donald Trump

President Elect Donald Trump

We just THOUGHT Donald Trump was living the American Dream.

President Elect Donald Trump may be forced to sell his businesses, or resign the Presidency to avoid daily accusations of conflicts of interest relating to his far-flung, and profitable ventures. Not only will most international issues impinge on his wealth, but almost any domestic issue like business taxes, or real estate law will be viewed as a conflict.

He is damned no matter what direction he takes. For example, having his children run his businesses does not sever his personal relationships with those entities. It is difficult to envision any situation involving Trump and his family that would not have a business component. Everything he does will be an automatic conflict of interest.

In one of the most ironic elections in history a very wealthy man has won the Presidency of The United States. Damned whatever he does, Donald Trump will now take us into history as a victim of his own hard work and genius.

What a country!

 

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Who Pays For Scientific Research? 5

Every day we read news releases about new scientific developments, and about how the current administration is entranced with protecting the climate, and pushing “green” technology and jobs. The problem is that many of the news releases are just that, news releases meant for publicity and do not herald the great break-through they promise. You can know this by making a note of these extraordinary pieces of scientific news, and by consulting your notes six to twelve months after the news release. If you do a Google search you will learn that a significant portion of those announcements did not mature into their promise.

This is not unusual. Scientists, universities, foundations, and government officials who have approved massive funding for some of these projects are under pressure to produce, so they put the pressure on the institution that got the funding. From there, the scientists are pushed to announce something. Of course, these scientists are basically dishonest in the first place, and would do anything to keep getting government grant money for their nefarious and various projects. They have to make a living, too.

The Federal Government funds the lion’s share of scientific research. The following graph shows the Federal funding for research in fiscal years 1995 – 2011.

File:U.S. research funding.png

As you can see, the spending on research in 2011 was about $60 Billion. That spending includes Defense, NASA, National Science Foundation, and about a dozen other departments and offices of the United States Government. Most of these offices dispense these funds to other institutions like universities and think tanks in addition to funding internal programs.

The Federal Government supports a huge amount of university scientific research in this country. In 2009, that amounted to the Federal Government supporting about $33 billion of universities’ total annual R&D spending of $55 billion. As you can quickly calculate, this is sixty percent of the research done at our universities.  About seventy percent of science and engineering graduate students are funded by these Federal funds. This is an important fact.

President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget included $2.56 Billion for climate research. Since the science of global warming and climate change is settled (according to a large number of people in the research business), why does the Federal Government continue to spend billions of dollars in this field. Could it be that they still don’t know what is going on?

If you are a cynical character such as I, you will consider the facts as outlined. Climate scientists education are paid by the Federal Government. Climate scientists swear that global warming is a threat to society if we don’t do something about it. The Federal Government says it can do something about global warming by establishing carbon taxes and strangling the US economy by implementing inefficient energy sources, i.e., wind power and solar power. The Federal Government pays for climate science PhD’s education, and it gets the research it demands from the academic community. University programs cannot exist without Federal funding, and the Government cannot implement a carbon tax without the questionable climate research being done.

There is a symbiotic relationship between the university system and the Federal Government. This relationship results in an insidious culture with corrupt science, money, and the power.

I would be overjoyed for someone to tell me how government funding of science can have any good result. The fact is that the government simply cannot manage an economy, much less the broad and complex world of science. Do you remember Solyndra?

The citizens and taxpayers of the United States pay for all this research. Some of it is over the top. Some is useless. When the Federal Government funds academics, things are unavoidably political, and science becomes a charade that makes losers of us all.

Bank of America Does It Again 7

Everybody remembers the furor caused by Bank of America and several other banks when they proposed a $5 per month fee for debit card use. This was an affront to everyone’s senses because we were already saving the banks millions of dollars by not writing checks. We were being charged for saving the banks money.

Lately, my Bank of America debit card was becoming difficult to use. You know how it is. You stand in line at the grocery store and watch while the clerk rings up a couple of hundred dollars of chips, nuts, dips, and beer. When you try to use your debit card, the darned thing won’t work. Then, the clerk tries the old plastic bag trick with your card, and it still doesn’t work. In frustration the clerk sighs as she keys in the debit card number, manually. The people behind you have grimaces on their faces. Your day is going down hill.

Today, I had a little run-in with Bank of America over my defective debit card. I called Bank of America customer service and told the agent about the problem. She was thoroughly empathetic with me, and suggested ordering a replacement card. No problem kemosabe, I says. I should receive the card within five to seven business days.

“A $5 charge will be added to your account to cover the replacement card.”

She actually said that, even when I asked her to repeat her statement. Yep! BOA will now gig you for five bucks to replace your defective debit card. Debit cards save them millions of dollars annually and now they charge for replacing defective cards. When I asked how long the card was supposed to last, mine was supposed to go until the year 2016, a full five years after I received it. I think BOA has found another guaranteed revenue stream. There’s no way a plastic card using a magnetic strip will last five years.

Bank of America is doing this because they can. My only recourse is to change banks. Of course, that is more trouble than paying $5 for a replacement card, and BOA is banking on that.